What happens when you get what you pray for...Reprint of Tom Atlee forewardeed to Civicprep listserve by Jan Nickerson

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First the required disclaimers:

[The site referenced it Coteligent's site] All articles in this site are by Tom Atlee, unless otherwise specified. They are Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 by Tom Atlee. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy and distribute these documents by any means, provided that they mention this site [http://www.co-intelligence.org], and that no fee is charged other than the actual cost of transmission or reproduction or the standard connection-time charges on a BBS, on-line service, or Internet connection. No document on this site may be distributed for financial gain or included in a commercial collection or compilation without prior permission from the copyright owner. Articles noted as written by others are copyright by them, all rights reserved. Contact the authors for permission to use.

and the foreward:

>From the Civic Preparedness discussion list. To post messages to this list, address them to civicprep@4hlists.org. ------------------------------ We've been talking about "hope for the best, prepare for the worst". Tom Atlee describes beautifully below what happens when we get what we hoped for: I feel like the doctor whose patient has for months been fighting terminal lung cancer, with a rapidly growing and metastasizing tumor. I'm sitting at my desk looking at the latest X-rays and tests. There are no signs of cancer in either. I say to my patient, "I don't know what to make of it, but your cancer appears to be gone." My mind is wondering, "Is this a miracle? Did we get a mixup of records?" The patient laughs in my face and says, "I told you all your warnings about smoking were a bunch of bull!" -- and pulls out his cigarettes. Dear friends, I just came back from sitting on the walking bridge near our house, watching the Willamette River flow west towards the ocean, its heavy water dark grey in the stormy evening. The whole day was sun then rain, bright then dark; the temperature rollercoastered between 60 and 40 degrees, up and down, up and down. How does one label the weather of such a day? How does one describe the unfolding of Y2K? I recall Mary Ann Gallagher's prediction: "The one thing that's sure is that everyone will be surprised." I think, in the end, she will be proven right. The fulfillment of that prophecy is starting with us. I have already read a number of notes from Y2K activists who are stunned or disillusioned, including several who are in identity crises or who have made sudden, stark decisions about who they are in the world, desperately trying to disown the caring, engaged work they did with Y2K to help their communities and society. My own gut sensibilities were thrown into such confusion by the benign passing of the rollover around the world, that I understand these responses by so many Y2K activists. But my mind has always known that it didn't know what would happen -- that WE didn't know what would happen -- and I'd forced myself to say that for a whole year, even as my gut told me otherwise. I think we don't yet really GET IT what uncertainty is all about. Uncertainty means we don't know. Radical uncertainty means we CAN'T know. Y2K was and is a phenomenon filled with radical uncertainty. Our desire -- our compulsion -- to know, is now making us jump to the premature conclusion that Y2K is over, that it was a "nothing event," that our efforts were misguided, that we must eat crow. Let us be particularly mindful at this moment. Let us not fall back into old patterns. Let us not lose the precious freedom we have gained, to think outside the box. TWO Y2KS First of all -- and this is being widely recognized -- there are at least two Y2Ks -- the TimeBomb/WreckingBall Y2K and the Termite Y2K. The TimeBomb/WreckingBall Y2K was supposed to do its dirty work at New Years Eve midnight, sweeping around the world leaving a swath of vivid new-millennial disruptions in its wake. We all watched the clock tick, the ball swing. The fact that so little happened is a miracle. Although I suspect that we'll find that more happened than met the public eye, the fact remains that the deep and broad disruptions so many of us expected did not happen. But the dramatic Y2K is only half of Y2K. Let us not forget the more subtle Y2K, the one about "supply chains" and "cascading effects" and "the increasing viscosity of life" -- the Y2K that happens over time, the one that could even end up being "death from a million cuts". That's what I'm calling the Termite Y2K. Termites eat away inside the wall leaving only a surface apparency of sturdiness that doesn't need a wrecking ball to punch holes in it. This Termite Y2K has barely begun its work. The problem with the Termite Y2K is that it lacks the clarity and drama of the TimeBomb/WreckingBall. It doesn't happen all at once, spectacularly turning the world into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. It may surface in the first week, but it may just as well wait for months or years as it worms its way through the system. And it is a misty and often hidden shapeshifter: frequently we won't know -- especially if we're not directly involved -- whether a particular problem derived from Y2K or not. The systems are complex; the motives for hiding Y2K problems are significant; the nature of Y2K, itself, is ambiguous (e.g., is the failure of a system put in place because of Y2K a "Y2K failure"?). BIGGER THAN Y2K I think it is good that the phrase "Y2K Crisis" has now been torn from our vocabulary by the unexpectedly benign rollover. After all, Y2K was only one aspect of our REAL AND INCREASING TECHNOLOGICAL VULNERABILITY which ranges from cyberterrorism to downed power lines, from nuclear power to genetic engineering. Instead of abandoning our positions we might expand our vision. Y2K is only the tip of an iceberg of systemic vulnerabilities. Preparedness is still an issue. Sustainability is still an issue. Democratic monitoring of technology is still an issue. The erosion of our rights and freedoms as a solution to terrorism is still an issue. We have momentum. Let us not throw it away. As I wrote in a recent email: "The real issue ... is that our culture is becoming progressively less resilient and more vulnerable to serious disruptions, widespread suffering and even total collapse." Among the factors I believe play a role in this are (a) our addiction to profit, growth, speed, efficiency, etc., (b) our competitive assumptions, (c) our short-term thinking, and (d) our non-resilient dependence on technology, instead of nature, each other, and spirit. "So whenever a technological breakdown causes disruption -- and it doesn't matter whether that breakdown was caused by Y2K, terrorism, violent weather, human error, computer viruses, or any other reason -- the resulting DISRUPTION was caused by our DEPENDENCE, by our lack of resilience. The fact that this dynamic is currently built into our society suggests that it would be wise to either (1) change the system to be more resilient and less dependent on technology or (2) decide that future disruptions are inevitable and put lots of attention on making households, organizations and communities more resilient with a constant high level of vigilance and preparedness." There is no shortage of work to do, right in this territory we are already so familiar with. SPIRIT AND Y2K My guts tell me there is "no way" that there could be as few disruptions as there apparently were on the rollover. Normally I would expect that someone's hiding something, but the really bad disruptions could not be hidden. What do we do with this "impossibility" that became reality? Those who never thought there was a problem in the first place, of course, don't see anything odd about it at all. But few of them showed real understanding of systemic interconnectedness, resilience, or the underlying patterns of complexity that were fundamental to Y2K and are so powerfully descriptive of where we are and where we're going as a society. I simply can't throw out all those understandings, just because of an uneventful rollover. So I find myself being drawn relentlessly toward the idea of "miracle." Although I have been, among other things, quite spiritual in my approach to Y2K, I have not been one to think that it could be handled by prayer and trust. A number of my friends, and folks on this list who I don't know personally, do have such an abiding religious faith. Some even sent around recruitment letters for worldwide prayers and meditations for the new millennium. I didn't forward these on, knowing that there were many people on the list who wouldn't like these invitations. However, as Y2K moved into its "endgame" stretch (the last few months of 1999), I found myself talking increasingly in terms of prayer. As the World War II GIs used to say, there are no non-believers in foxholes. I am aware of some research on prayer, mostly in health (cf., Larry Dossey's HEALING WORDS). And I have personally experienced the ability of focused intention to create changes in the physical world. Whether this is a psychic phenomena, the response of a personal God, or a realignment of probability fields at the quantum level, there's definitely something going on there. But I haven't been able to come to terms with the implications of that in my personal life and activism. Cynthia Beal says of the rollover, "That was Grace, folks." I have to admit, that theory explains the observed phenomena! The next question is: What will we do with the reprieve we've been given? It is hard for me to believe this is just about saving us from our co-stupidity so we can go back to business-as-usual. And it's even harder for me to believe that if we do go back to business-as-usual, we will get off so lightly next time. And there will be a next time. Of that I feel sure -- in both my gut and my mind. CONCLUSION This is a time for reflection -- not just about lessons learned, but about realignment. The Y2K movement is one of the most remarkable phenomena in history, a spontaneous, widespread, self-organized movement based on a deep caring and the ability to rapidly share information and wisdom through the Internet. Networks and friendships were woven, understandings and agreements were hard-won. Let us not throw out the Y2K baby with the Y2K bathwater. The paths ahead are filled with unprecedented dangers and opportunities, begging to be addressed with the same caring, connection and wisdom that we have exercised for more than a year. How might we walk those paths together? Coheartedly, Tom PS: When I got a diagnosis of possible heart disease several years ago, I was highly motivated to rework my diet, to exercise, and to meditate and rest. After eight months of this regimen and more intensive tests on my heart, my doctors told me they couldn't find any sure evidence of a heart condition. They couldn't rule it out, but they had no absolute evidence. My disciplined program dissolved INSTANTLY, even though I knew it would save me from all sorts of other medical problems later. I've been struggling for years to get it back on track. I believe that a failure to act until a crisis hits shows a lack of intelligence, a failure of our innate ability to recognize patterns in our lives and use those patterns to help us take appropriate action. Since it is abundantly clear that we still have real collective problems we could apply ourselves to in the post-Y2K world, I wonder if we can exercise the collective intelligence to sustain our efforts without the dramatic focus of Y2K. I would be truly sad if we couldn't. Personally, I sense what my friend Marianne Morgan wrote to me a few days ago, that "now the real work begins." _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * Eugene, OR http://www.co-intelligence.org http://www.co-intelligence.org/Y2K.html http://www.co-intelligence.org/CIPol_Index.html forwarded by Jan Nickerson Y2K Connections ~ building community not crises ~ the ONLY Y2K game in town www.Y2KConnections.com --- You are currently subscribed to civicprep as:me.

Gee I hope the formatting follows.

-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 04, 2000


Actually I was delighted and forgot Y2K after seeing the rollover in Moscow.

The only explosions were fireworks :o)

Mind you the next big test is folks paychecks, bills, supplylines and what not.

.gov and the health industry could be a concern also.

But wow, I don't remember hearing about loss of life (fact it was a safer New years no doubt, so much security) and the weather looked great around the world. We had a storm locally but oh well.

This navel gazing is to bad IMHO. If nothing else public resiliance has been strengthened. There will be another huricane, Ice storm, earthquake and other disasters that could happen anywhere. I know the whole West coast of America is a disaster waiting to happen. It is a fact and when the "megathrust" hits here society around me will disintagrate as outside help will have to arrive from another province.

The weather patterns are getting more severe, this alone should serve as a warning to folks that Nature is boss. You never know when it is your turn to learn that lesson.

If there is any lesson that should be learned from Y2K is that technology insulates us from nature and this has become a blessing and a curse. A blessing cause a warm house and a hot shower is nice to have and a curse because humans often can't survive in their enviorment without technology.

As an ex "bush" person and having worked all my life outdoors in many enviorments I will never feel sorry about my efforts to make folks more self reliant. "Back to the bush" was a stupid idea, but learning how to keep your comfort zone for a few days to weeks because of disruptions can only be a good thing.

Even Ken Decker has to agree with that. :o)

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 04, 2000.

Call me cynical, but I can't help but suspect that the "miracle" is nothing more than a rapidly-frazzling army of Men Behind The Curtain.

IOW, we didn't fix everything, we just switched it to manual.

If so, fasten your seatbelts...

-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), January 04, 2000.

The gloaters were just chomping at the bit to gloat. If they think it is over, then why not leave the board. Surely, they have better things to do in the New Age.

-- Kyle (midtnbuddy@aol.com), January 04, 2000.

Thanks, Chuck. Among the many thoughts in Tom's essay this is one I especially liked:

I believe that a failure to act until a crisis hits shows a lack of intelligence, a failure of our innate ability to recognize patterns in our lives and use those patterns to help us take appropriate action. Since it is abundantly clear that we still have real collective problems we could apply ourselves to in the post-Y2K world, I wonder if we can exercise the collective intelligence to sustain our efforts without the dramatic focus of Y2K.

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), January 04, 2000.

Chuck, would you please re-post atlee's piece with paragraph breaks? Thanks!

-- alan (foo@bar.com), January 04, 2000.

this was great- thanx

-- farmer (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), January 04, 2000.


I second Alan's request for paragraph breaks if possible. It would really help. What I've read so far of it has been really, really, good. Thanks for posting it!

-- winter wondering (winterwondring@yahoo.com), January 04, 2000.

Thanks for posting this, Chuck.

As one of the "pollies" on this forum since June of 1999, I can understand what this man is stating and can understand his need to continue in this effort outside Y2k.

Pollies have oftentimes been asked what they're doing on this forum. I think several of us have responded that we work in IT, have for all our adult lives, and have worked on many remediation projects. We wanted to see how other folks perceived Y2k and follow remediation efforts in other parts of our countries, as well as the world. We also wanted to see how folks outside of IT perceived Y2k threats.

This forum, perhaps more than any other Y2k forum I've visited has always discussed OTHER things that could/will occur, as well as other dissatisfactions with the status quo. Other posters on other threads have expressed that this was never JUST about Y2k. That's fine, but FOR ME, it WAS all about Y2k, and FOR ME, Y2k was over when the power stayed up virtually everywhere in the world. The trivial inconveniences of Lowes not accepting credit cards for a day or two or a DMV not being able to process license renewals without a line forming could go on for months. These things will all be fixed with time. Weekly balances, monthly balances may be incorrect on first runs, but they ALSO will be fixed with time.

I suspect that what this author had in mind is that he feels that corruption of society [from whatever cause], government insincerity, nuclear power threats, etc. exist, and wants to continue dialogue with like-minded folks on such matters even if Y2k didn't unfold as some expected.

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.com), January 04, 2000.

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